Gem Diamonds to sell first Botswana diamonds in February

The first diamonds recovered from Gem Diamonds Ltd's new mine in Botswana will go on sale in February, the company said on Thursday.

The Ghaghoo mine, officially opened on Sept. 5, had produced 4,028 carats by the end of September. Gem Diamonds has drawn down the entire $25 million debt facility for the first phase of the mine's development, the company said.

"We are pleased to have completed the construction of the mine on time and within budget and to have overcome the challenges posed by developing a decline through some 80 metres of sand," Chief Executive Clifford Elphick said in a statement.

The first Ghaghoo diamonds will be sold alongside stones from the company's 70 per cent-owned Letseng mine in Lesotho, the source of some of the largest white gem-quality diamonds on record.

Gem Diamonds said it had recovered 28,365 carats from Letseng in the quarter ended Sept. 30, slightly fewer than the 28,623 carats mined in the preceding three months.